by Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden
Passing of Congressman John Lewis
are made in the image of God, and then there is John Lewis.
could someone in flesh and blood be so courageous, so full of hope
and love in the face of so much hate, violence, and vengeance?
Perhaps it was the Spirit that found John as a young boy in the Deep
South dreaming of preaching the social gospel; the work ethic his
sharecropper parents instilled in him and that stayed with him; the
convictions of nonviolent civil disobedience he mastered from Dr.
King and countless fearless leaders in the movement; or the abiding
connection with the constituents of Georgia’s 5th District he
loyally served for decades.
Or perhaps it was that he
was truly a one-of-a-kind, a moral compass who always knew where to
point us and which direction to march.
It is rare to meet and
befriend our heroes. John was that hero for so many people of every
race and station, including us. He absorbed the force of human
nature’s cruelty during the course of his life, and the only thing
that could finally stop him was cancer. But he was not bitter. We
spoke to him a few days ago for the final time. His voice still
commanded respect and his laugh was still full of joy. Instead of
answering our concerns for him, he asked about us. He asked us to
stay focused on the work left undone to heal this nation. He was
himself – a man at peace, of dignity, grace and character.
life reminds us that the most powerful symbol of what it means to be
an American is what we do with the time we have to make real the
promise of our nation – that we are all created equal and deserve
to be treated equally. Through the beatings, the marches, the
arrests, the debates on war, peace, and freedom, and the legislative
fights for good jobs and health care and the fundamental right to
vote, he taught us that while the journey toward equality is not
easy, we must be unafraid and never cower and never, ever give
That is the charge a great American and humble man of God
has left us. For parents trying to answer their children’s
questions about what to make of the world we are in today, teach them
about John Lewis. For the peaceful marchers for racial and economic
justice around the world who are asking where we go from here, follow
his lead. For his fellow legislators, govern by your conscience like
he did, not for power or party. He was our bridge – to our history
so we did not forget its pain and to our future so we never lose our
To John’s son, John Miles, and to his family,
friends, staff, and constituents, we send you our love and prayers.
Thank you for sharing him with the nation and the world.
to John, march on, dear friend. May God bless you. May you reunite
with your beloved Lillian. And may you continue to inspire righteous
good trouble down from the Heavens.